Homemade Treats For Dogs With Allergies

Disturbing Lab Results Prove Top Dog andAs you may have read last week, Zoey has been having a tough time with allergies. I took her in to the vet to get some more insight, and he explained that it could be caused from the food or treats I’m giving her, but mostly its airborne allergens present this time of year. 

Store-bought treats are filled with allergens like soy, wheat, corn, etc. And plenty of dogs are allergic to meats like chicken, beef, and pork used in treats and food. 

Homemade treats are a must for dogs with allergies, because you can’t be 100% sure that the store-bought kinds have pure ingredients that are allergy-friendly. 

My vet suggested giving Zoey sweet potatoes as treats because they’re great for dogs with allergies.

Raw honey is also a great natural allergy solution. Drizzling raw honey on the top of sweet potato treats after they’re cooked is the perfect solution for a dog with allergies. 

Why Is Honey Good For Dogs With Allergies?

Raw honey, especially honey bought locally, contains traces of pollen and airborne allergens which helps acclimate your dog to the pollinated air. It also contains enzymes that help dogs digest food better. Does your dog seem to be slowing down or acting lazy? The natural sugars in raw honey that are easily broken down by your dog’s body is a great source of energy for your pup, when used in moderation. Puppies should stay away from honey until they’re adults.

Easy Homemade Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats

You may remember us making dehydrated sweet potato dog treats in the past, and they’re my personal favorite. Sweet potatoes are so healthy for dogs and humans, they’re inexpensive, and they’re the easiest treats to make. With only 1 ingredient, and 1 kitchen tool needed before popping them in the oven, I feel like I could make these treats all day long!

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients 

You’ll Need:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Raw Honey (preferably local)

IMG_1525The first step of our treat-making process has quickly become one of Zoey and Jem’s favorite, because they love playing this game of nabbing my ingredients off the kitchen counter, running into the living room, and devouring them. Think they’re a little impatient? 

IMG_1518I can’t bring myself to scold Jem for treat-napping because it’s so stinkin’ cute!

IMG_1483And I love how much she loves fresh, healthy foods.

IMG_1493It’d be like scolding your child for getting excited about eating her veggies… it just doesn’t feel right! 

IMG_1494Zoey appreciated Jem stealing a sweet potato off the counter for her, since she’s vertically challenged. But she would rather cuddle her sweet potato than devour it…

IMG_1512Although Jem and Zoey think they do a perfectly good job of “washing” the potatoes with their tongues, and I have to agree, I do give them a good wash in the sink with my potato brush before slicing them. 

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees before we begin prepping the potatoes. 

Step 2: Slice The Sweet Potatoes 

I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes because I don’t trust myself to slice them by hand, but it’s perfectly fine to use your knife to slice the pieces if you don’t have a kitchen gadget. 

potato-collage-600x600Using the mandolin, I sliced mine like so:

DSC04125-600x399It’s quick and easy. I had my sweet potato sliced in just minutes.

IMG_1521

Step 3: Bake!

Your oven should be preheated to 250 degrees. Place the sliced sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Sorry Jem, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer…

IMG_1528Bake them at 250 degrees for 1.5 hours.

IMG_1529 After 1.5 hours, remove from oven. My sweet potatoes were cooked at this point because I sliced them thin, but if yours are still very soft, bake for longer. 

IMG_1534If your dog has dental issues or prefers a softer treat, you can bake them for less time. 

They will seem slightly soft when they first come out of the oven, so let them cool completely before serving them to your doggies.

Step 4: Drizzle Sweet Raw Honey On Top

IMG_1543This step will have your dogs drooling! The raw honey drizzled on top will not only have your pups going nuts, but it’ll be the perfect icing on top to help relieve your dog’s allergies.

IMG_1544The sweet potato honey combination can’t be beat when trying to soothe a pup suffering from allergies.

Step 5: Dig In!

IMG_1624If you haven’t already been attached by lickers like I was, now is the time to watch your pups go to town. My favorite part! 

IMG_1547Jem is too tall for me to handle sometimes! I can barely grab a treat off the cookie sheet before she jumps up and snatches it. 

IMG_1548Zoey has to have her chance too, even though she can’t jump as high as Jem.

IMG_1558The girls loved these treats SO much that they were crying for more. I’ve never seen anything like it!

IMG_1623I was worried they were going to keep whining until they were all gone…

IMG_1582Okay one more…

IMG_1624

Now that I know honey is so good for dogs with allergies, and sweet potatoes are the best treat option when my dogs are having symptoms, I plan to make these treats regularly. If the health benefits weren’t reason enough, their overwhelmingly joyous reaction to the flavor sealed the deal! I love how much they adore their homemade treats :)

Does your dog have a favorite homemade dog treat recipe? Or do you have any secret remedies to help allergies? 

 

How Do I Cure My Dog’s Allergies?

cure dogs allergiesZoey has been having a terrible time with allergies lately. She wants to bite at her paws non-stop. I tried wrapping them, but we all know how long something like that lasts before Houdini-dog finds a way to remove it. I also tried wiping her paws whenever she came in from outside, but that didn’t seem to give her any relief. Our only choice was to make a visit to the vet to make sure we find a way to cure her itchy skin.

IMG_1398

Why Do Dogs Have Allergies?

Dogs commonly have an allergic reaction to their food, treats, or environment. The vet explained to us that almost every dog in Florida has allergies, unfortunately. And her paws aren’t bothering her because of the direct contact they’re making with anything on the ground like fertilizer, bugs, or any toxins. Instead, dogs’ paws have millions of receptors that serve the same purpose that humans’ noses do. When we have allergies, we are aware of it because of how itchy, scratchy, and bothersome our nose feels to us. The same thing happens to our dogs when they have allergies, except they have those feelings in their paws. 

IMG_1393Zoey’s paws have a reddish pink stain from biting at them. I thought this was possibly blood from breaking the skin, but the vet explained it is the discoloration from the bacteria in her mouth. Similar to the discoloration you see around the mouth of white or light colored dogs’ mouths and eyes. 

Make Sure It’s Not Your Dog’s Food Causing An Allergic Reaction First

Common ingredients in dog food that cause allergic reactions for dogs include:

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Corn
  • Wheat 
  • Soy

I feed Zoey Darwin’s Raw Food and chose to purchase Chicken, Turkey, and Beef so she has a variety of tastes. The vet advised that turkey is the best meat to feed a dog that is experiencing allergies because it is not known to cause any itching. Since dogs have been known to have allergies to beef and chicken, I’m going to strictly feed her the raw turkey/vegetable medley from Darwin’s and see if this naturally eases her allergies without medication. If the itching stops, I know that she’s not allergic to the turkey or vegetables.

IMG_1400At this point you can begin the elimination diet to test your dog’s food allergy. Slowly add one ingredient to her food at a time and observe her behavior to see if she has an allergy to it. This method will help determine which foods she has an allergy to so you can eliminate them from her diet.

If the itching continues no matter what food you feed her, we know that she is possibly having seasonal allergies from her environment.

Does Your Dog Suffer From Seasonal Allergies?

If a change in diet doesn’t help your dog’s allergies, then it is most likely a seasonal allergy from the environment. Like my vet said, almost every dog in Florida has seasonal allergy problems.

IMG_1463My vet recommended a Zyrtec prescription for Zoey if her allergies don’t improve from the change in diet. Zyrtec prescribed by your veterinarian is an acceptable method for improving your dog’s quality of life. While I would love to have Zoey living a medication-free, natural lifestyle… it’s not always practical to avoid medications. If Zyrtec will make her feel better, of course I’m more than happy to give her the relief she so desperately needs. Zyrtec can take a couple weeks to help because it takes awhile to get into your dog’s system. So if immediate relief is important, a steroid can be combined with the Zyrtec to give your dog relief sooner. 

Treats Should Not Be Given Without Careful Consideration 

homemade organic sweet potato dog treatsMy vet explained to me that treats commonly cause allergic reactions, too. He advised that Zoey should only have sweet potato for treats. Luckily, we are used to making our own homemade sweet potato dog treats, so this will be the easy part! Dehydrated sweet potato dog treats are really easy to make. The dogs love them as much or more than any other treats, and I can rest confidently knowing that Zoey won’t have an allergic reaction to them. 

 

Does your dog suffer from allergies? Do you have any tried and true methods for improving them?

Reasons You Should Feed Pumpkin to Your Dog

pumpkin for dogsIs there anything that says “Fall” more than a pumpkin patch? Down here in Florida it’s still in the 80’s and the orange pumpkins stick out like a sore thumb next to the lime green palm trees. But we still try to enjoy the Fall spirit, even though we don’t have a change of seasons. 

My whole life I’ve only associated pumpkins with Halloween and my favorite pie after Thanksgiving dinner. But recently I’ve learned that they are so much more than that! They’re a vegetable that some people will roast in the oven with salt and pepper as a side dish, puree as an ingredient for casseroles, and pumpkins even have multiple health and wellness benefits for dogs. 

Weight Management

Does this collar make my neck look fat?

Does this collar make my neck look fat?

There are so many dogs that are overweight. It’s so bad for their health, quality of life, mobility, and shortens their life span. Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in fat, so it’s a great treat for your dog. If your pup likes some flavor added to her dry kibble, try a little spoonful of pumpkin instead of wet food.

Digestive Health

I can tell Zoey has a full, happy belly  when she lays tummy-up!

I can tell Zoey has a full, happy belly when she lays tummy-up!

Is your dog prone to diarrhea or constipation? The fiber in pumpkin is both soluble and insoluble meaning it helps with both types of digestive problems. 

Urinary Health

Jem wasn't sure how she felt about being photographed during private time...

Jem wasn’t sure how she felt about being photographed during private time…

Pumpkin has Vitamin A, potassium, iron, and beta-carotene which support urinary health. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium and fewer calories than a whole banana! 

Immune System Support

The beta-carotene and antioxidants promote a healthy immune system for dogs of all ages.  

Allergy Friendly

Some people might not even realize that their dogs have allergies. They can be brought on by all kinds of food – especially corn, soy, or wheat ingredients. If you dog is itchy, has red skin, or bites at herself, she may have allergies. Pumpkin is great because it isn’t a common allergen. It’s a great substitute ingredient to use as a replacement for ingredients your dog is allergic to. 

It Tickles Dogs’ Taste Buds

Jem LOVES pumpkin! Whether its pureed, cooked, or raw!

Jem LOVES pumpkin! Whether its pureed, cooked, or raw!

Do you have a picky eater? Pumpkin has a wonderful flavor that dogs love. Add it to dry kibble to get her to eat her food. The smooth and creamy texture mixes great with dog food. You can even hide your dog’s medication in a dollop of pumpkin, or show your pup what a good girl she is with yummy homemade pumpkin treats.

When I set up a few pumpkins for Zoey and Jem, I never expected Jem to nab one of the small pumpkins…

IMG_0863Carry it onto the carpeting…

IMG_0638And proceed to gnaw on it like a bone or the best treat she’s ever tasted!

IMG_0692Zoey wasn’t so sure what all the fuss was about… and I couldn’t stop laughing!

IMG_0746As soon as I would take it away from her and put it back in the pile, she would spring up and run over to snatch another one…

IMG_0863She would have eaten them all until they were gone if I let her! 

IMG_0966Was it the flavor?

IMG_1162Or the texture?

IMG_1001Zoey and I will never know…

IMG_1184I had to take them from her before the overdosed. She missed them so much, she figured she would see what the corn was all about…

IMG_1202This really perplexed Zoey and I…

IMG_0942And when that plan failed, she tried her luck at the large pumpkins! They were just a little out of her league…

IMG_1246

Who would have thought that she would love raw pumpkin so much? I thought I could get a couple cute pictures of them posing in front of the pumpkins, but I hadn’t set them down for 2 seconds before my little pumpkin thief swooped in!

Does your dog love pumpkin as much as Jem? Or is she more like Zoey and prefers it cooked into a treat or mixed in with her food? Has pumpkin improved your dogs health in any way?

Dog and Cat Foods That Have Never Had A Recall

Dog and Cat Foods That Have Never Had  A Recall NoticeThe #1 question I get from our readers is “what food should I be feeding my dog?”

I can’t describe how hard that question is to answer… Let’s be honest, we are pampered with lies every day from the pet food brands, and it’s close to impossible to know if we’re feeding our dogs quality or crap!

There are so many layers of the dog food “onion” to peel back before any sort of a reliable answer can be found! I’m still researching this issue every week because I want to give you honest answers (and get some answers for myself as well.) I think it’s going to take me months to understand which pet foods are truly healthy because of the misleading claims that so many companies make and the lack of quality control in the industry. 

One thing I have heard many times is to stay away from the “big box retailers” like PetSmart, PetCo, and Pet Supermarket. Hardly any of the BEST brands are sold in these stores, so you can bet that you’ll need to go to the local mom-and-pop pet shop to get good quality. Just because it’s a “top” brand doesn’t mean it’s the best quality brand.

Most people like the convenience of a dry kibble dog food, although experts still say that the raw food diet is far supreme. The following list contains dry dog food kibble brands that have NEVER had a recall!  That says something, right? Oh, and you won’t find any of these in a PetSmart, PetCo, or Pet Supermarket either…

Fromm – Cats & Dogs

Fromm Family Pet FoodsEach entree is prepared in small, controlled batches. It’s a 5th generation family-owned company, and they have a super-easy to use Q&A section of their website that helps you determine which food is the best for your dog not just any dog. You aren’t going to find this food in a PetSmart or PetCo… but it’s easy to find a local business that sells it!

Life’s Abundance – Cats & Dogs

lifes abundance pet foodQuality is assured with Life’s Abundance because they cook their food in small batches and use natural, wholesome ingredients. If you like to feed your dog grain-free, they have that option too. I don’t see any brick and mortar stores that sell it. But from my own experience, ordering dog food online can be so awesome! Having it show up at the front door means there’s one less errand to run – and that feels great. This company also gives back with their foundation to rescue neglected and unwanted pets.

Earthborn Holistic – Cats & Dogs

earthborn holistic pet foodThis company believes in producing a pet food rich with only high-quality ingredients that come directly from nature. They carefully select only ingredients that serve a purpose to support your pet’s overall health and well-being. Their website offers any easy way to find a store that sells it near you. Once again, you won’t find this quality brand at one of the big box stores like PetSmart, PetCo, or Pet Supermarket. 

Zignature – Dogs

zignature pet foodZignature recognizes how confusing the controversy over pet food nutrition has become in recent years: Grain or No Grain? Soy or No Soy? Gluten or No Gluten? Meat or Meat Meal? But they take a step back from the catch-phrases and believe your dog’s food should be created with the highest quality ingredients based on the nutritional science of the glycemic index.

They also believe nothing can beat the raw food diet, but they strive to come as close to it as possible in a dry kibble. Find a store near you to purchase.

Holistic Select – Cats & Dogs

holistic select pet foodThis company believes that your pet’s total health begins with digestive health. Their “Unique Digestive Health Support System” uses probiotics, fiber, digestive enzymes, and botanicals to make your dog’s belly happy. Find a store near you to purchase.

Eagle Pack – Cats & Dogs

eagle pack pet foodThis company is proud to bring consumers quality, natural nutrition without fillers or artificial preservatives for over 25 years. They strive to provide the right balance of protein, fat, carbs, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids for a shiny coat, bright eyes, good digestion, and an energetic spirit. If you’d like to switch to this brand, find a store near you that sells it.

Nature’s Logic – Cats & Dogs

nature's logic pet foodThis company makes kibble, canned, and raw food as well as treats, supplements, and cat litter.  They provide natural food rich in protein and nutrients so your dog absorbs more and wastes less. Its also free of allergens like corn, wheat, soy, rice, etc. Find a store near you or take advantage of online ordering. 

Canine Caviar – Dogs

canine caviar pet foodCanine Caviar was founded by a scientist whose Great Dane lived to be 17, the second-longest living Great Dane in history! His alkaline dog food is different than any other because it helps put more oxygen into the blood to allow the DNA’s self-recovery mechanism to function more effectively. It reduces the risk of your pet having kidney and liver problems as well as diabetes. They make dry food, canned food, and treats. Find a store that sells it near you, or conveniently order online

VeRUS – Cats & Dogs

Verus Pet FoodsThis “farm-to-bowl” company provides genuine, whole-health nutrition rich with omega fatty acids, live probiotics, and whole meats. They understand that you may want to make your pet’s food at home, but it’s hard to find the time. It’s also not safe for you to make your dogs food unless you understand the nutritional requirements to keep your dog’s diet balanced. Your dog is better off having a pet nutritionist to formulate the food and make it for you, which is exactly what VeRUS does for you. Home cooked meals without the hassle or risk. Find a store near you.

Annamaet – Cats & Dogs

Annamaet Pet FoodsAnnamaet makes food for cats and dogs and prides themselves in continuously analyzing the quality of their food using independent labs to “maintain their strict standards of quality control.” They use antibiotic free ingredients and natural methods to preserve the food. Find a store near you or conveniently order online. 

Pet Curean – Cats & Dogs 

petcurean pet foodsThis Canadian family-owned brand believes “the proof is in the poop!” They create their products with “passion and purpose” using only the best ingredients from their trusted network of farmers,  ranchers, and producers. Find a store near you or conveniently order online. 

Blackwood – Cats & Dogs

blackwood pet foodBlackwood provides super-premium recipes that are slow-cooked in small batches “because our family loves happier, healthier pets, too!” This company was part of an independent study to show that the time honored tradition of slow cooking creates a higher starch conversion which can lead to increased stamina and energy. Find a location near you, or get it delivered to your door from an online retailer.  

 

Please note that this list does not include ALL of the pet foods that have never had a recall. There could be other brands that are high quality and recall-free that are not on this list.

For example, I love feeding my dogs Darwin’s Raw Food, which you didn’t see on this list. I can’t say enough good things about this brand, and the change I saw in Zoey’s overall health, attitude, and energy has been remarkable. We were in and out of the vet’s office monthly before she switched to Darwin’s, and now I can’t remember the last time she had to go in besides for her check-up.

She used to flip her bowl over and refuse to eat because she hated her food (she probably is smart enough to know when it’s crappy food), and now with Darwin’s she eats faster than Jem, which we thought was impossible! 

Has the food that you’re feeding your pet ever had a recall? Check out the FDA’s recall list here.

 

Dirtiest Place In Your Home: Your Pet’s Water Bowl!

Clean water for your pet - pet fountains from radiofence.comA clean water bowl is more vital to your pet’s health than you could imagine. A study conducted in 2011 by NSF International tested for the dirtiest places in our homes and found that our pets’ water bowl is the 4th dirtiest place in our homes! When you compare that to places like the toilet, doorknobs, shower drains, and garbage disposals, that really puts it into perspective just how dirty our pets’ water bowls are! Who would have thought?

What Kinds of Germs Are In My Pet’s Water Bowl?

The most common bacteria found in dog and cat bowls is Serratia Marcescens which has a peach/pink color to it. It commonly causes infection and pneumonia. Even if you don’t see a pink-ish color in the bowl, there’s a good chance the bacteria is there. 

IMG_2993You will also find yeast, mold, and coliform bacteria (salmonella and E. coli) in your pet’s water bowl. The fat in your pet’s food is the ideal fuel for germs like these, so food bowls are three times as filthy as the water bowls – so always disinfect with hot water and antibacterial soap between meals or in the dishwasher! Don’t forget to use that soap… according to a study published in a Canadian Veterinarian Journal, rinsing the bowls with hot water is so ineffective that it’s as if you’re doing nothing at all. You absolutely need antibacterial soap to kill the germs – and NO your pet won’t taste the soap just as you don’t taste the soap on the dishes you eat from. 

The NSF states:

Pet dishes should be washed daily, either in a sanitizing dishwasher or scrubbed by hand with hot soapy water, then rinsed. If hand washing, place the dishes in a 1:50 bleach rinse (one cap of bleach in one gallon of water) and soak for about 10 minutes once per week. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.

Rule of thumb: don’t expect your dog to eat or drink from something that would give you the ‘heebie-jeebies’ if you had to use it yourself. 

What Material Should My Pet’s Bowl Be Made Out Of?

IMG_2924Did you know that some materials are better than others at fighting the growth of bacteria and germs? You really want to stick to stainless steel or ceramic for your pet’s water (and food) bowls. These are the cleanest and safest – no plastic! Plastic is extremely porous and scratches easily which makes it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, algae, and mold.

Solution To The Dirty Dog Bowl Dilemma:

Get a pet fountain! They constantly filter the water so even the messiest drinkers will find a clean bowl of water the next time they go in for a drink. I’ve seen dogs that come inside with a face full of sand, bugs, mud, or whatever else they find outside. Then there’s those messy eaters that can’t keep their food out of the water bowl. And I wondered why the dog bowl was the 4th dirtiest place in the home because…? A pet fountain eliminates all of these bacteria causing particles. 

A pet fountain should be a necessity in every pet’s home… it’s just good hygiene! But there’s plenty of other reasons why your dog prefers a fountain over a typical water bowl.

Your Pet Wants A “Fresh Glass Of Water” Too!

Do you love to drink from a glass of stagnant water that’s been sitting out all day? Of course not! And neither does your dog or cat.

IMG_2911It wasn’t until the pet fountains were invented that I sat back and realized –  ‘Wow, I’m expecting my dogs to drink from a bowl of water that’s been sitting out all day (or a couple days) …but I wouldn’t drink from that!”

If I have a glass of water that I didn’t finish after a few hours, I dump it in the sink and grab a fresh glass and refill. So it’s funny that we are so accustomed to our dogs drinking in this way. Now after having that “a-ha” moment, it just feels like common sense to provide my dogs with the same “luxury” I’m accustomed to. Would you drink from the same glass for your entire life without washing it every day? 

Fountains Encourage Dogs and Cats To Drink More Water Which Improves Health

Research shows that one of the best ways to improve your dog or cat’s health is to get her to drink more water. Whenever I take the dogs to the vet for their check-ups, I share my concerns with him that I don’t see Zoey drinking enough water. Jem is obsessed with ice cubes and regularly takes big gulps from the water bowl, so I know she’s getting the hydration she needs. But Zoey seems so uninterested in drinking water, and she doesn’t like ice cubes, so I worry.

IMG_3039On those rare occasions when I see her drinking from the water bowl I’ll tense up, stop whatever I’m doing, and try not to make a sound for fear that I’ll spook her and scare her away from it! It’s that bad… So I was relieved to learn that fountains are clinically proven to encourage dogs to drink more water than they do with a conventional dog bowl. This is great news for a finicky drinker like Zoey!

IMG_3057Does your dog drink from a fountain? If not, do you think he or she would love one as much and Jem and Zoey do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

As a thank you for being a loyal reader of the RadioFence.com blog and educating yourself on your pet’s health, we’re giving you 5% off any fountain of your choice. Your dog deserves clean, healthy water every day! Use coupon code “FOUNTAIN” at check out. 

 

See Our Favorite Porcelain Fountains In Action:

 

Have you ever seen how dogs really drink water?

 

BarkPost uses our pet fountains to explain how dogs drink water: